GIABA trains journalists in the ECOWAS region on reporting economic and financial crimes

20 Dec, 2017

Saly (Senegal), 19th December 2017. The Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) is equipping Journalists in the ECOWAS region with tools of tracking and professionally reporting illegal fund transfers and proceeds, emerging trends as well as other ramifications of financial crimes.

Welcoming participants at the opening of a three-day training workshop in Saly, Senegal on the 18th of December 2017, the Director-General of GIABA Col Adama Coulibally held that the importance of the media in disseminating information for societal change and value reorientation cannot be overemphasized.

Speaking through GIABA’s Director, Programmes and Projects Dr. Buno Nduka, he said the Workshop is “a demonstration of our firm commitment to strengthening our relationship with the media and the capability of journalists to produce factual information on money laundering activities”

Given that the region is confronted with several threats relating to transnational organized crime with its dramatic effects on Member States, he opined that the importance of the media in disseminating Anti Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing (AML/CFT) messages should never be neglected

He said it was in order to ensure a comprehensive and complementary approach to the fight against money laundering, that the media is being targeted. The Media he continued, “plays a paramount role in promoting good governance, drawing government’s sustained attention to value for money in expanding public resources, enhancing the protection of citizens’ rights and guaranteeing the production and dissemination of information on money laundering practices and other related offenses”

The GIABA boss enthused that the journalists who were carefully selected from the Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone ECOWAS Member States, will benefit from Techniques of producing journalistic materials on financial crimes among others.

In her remarks, the GIABA National Correspondent, and Head, Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Senegal, Mrs Ramatoulaye Gadio Agne said that in a world where the equilibrium between freedom of expression and responsibility is ebbing, stakeholders have realized “the importance of training in arming journalists for the fight against financial crimes”

Declaring the workshop open, the Senegalese Minister of Information and Telecommunications Abdoulaye Bibi Balole, represented by Mr. Amadou Kanoute stated that as GIABA is dealing with the global plague of money laundering, Journalists have the advantage of unveiling hidden information by thoroughly checking what is presented to them.

Stressing that investigative journalism is a very demanding job that requires knowhow and patience, he charged participants to be mindful of the difference between inquiry and investigation.

The experts and resource persons at the workshop that included Dr. Nduka, Professor Abigail Ogwezzy-Ndisika and GIABA’s Information Manager Mr. Timothy Melaye made presentations on the various themes on: The role of Stakeholders in the Implementation of Effective AML/CFT Regimes in West Africa, Methods and Strategies of Investigative Reporting, Effective Ways of Reporting Crime, Practical Guides in Writing Investigative Features as well as Dealing With Sources in Investigative Journalism-Building trust and Cooperation.

Other topics on the table included Forensic Reporting-working with Economic and Financial Crimes investigators, Language Use in Investigative Writing, Use of New Technologies in Investigative Journalism, Establishing and Running of Effective AML/CFT Reporting Networks as well as Understanding the Usage and Management of “New Media” for effective Crime Reporting and Awareness Raising.

Money laundering is a complex situation generating serious consequences on the political, social and economic development of countries across the world. The workshop held as part of on-going efforts at protecting the economies of ECOWAS Member States from laundering the proceeds of crimes.

Member States